We’ve been around for a while

Woodland Jewellers has stood the test of time

E. G. “Tony” Woodland apprenticed as a watch maker in Revelstoke in 1911 and following his service in World War 1, worked for two jewellers in Edmonton. In 1933 the Woodlands moved to the small town of Williams Lake. With a population of approximately 200, boasting a total of 7 automobiles, in town jewellery was considered a very luxurious item to the towns’ inhabitants. Cattle were selling for 1 1/2 cents a pound. When Tony started repairing watches in a tiny leased premises in MacKenzies Hardware Store, with a typical month’s earnings being less than $100.


The cost to clean a watch was $1.50 and even that was hard to come by in the 1930’s.

In 1946 Tony had built the business up enough to purchase his own premises. After serving in World War 2 Ralph decided to join his father in business. In 1948 Ralph graduated from the C.T.V. School of Watch-Making in Vancouver. In 1950 he became a full partner and 15 years later (1963) bought Tony’s shares in the business. During his years in the jewellery industry Tony had many accomplishments, both personal and professional, including:


  • Honorary Life Member of BC Jewellers Association 1958
  • 50 year member of Canadian Jewellers Association
  • Founding member & 1st President of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 139
  • Official time inspector of PGE Railway
  • Charter President “Father” of curling in WL
  • Organized and coached lacrosse team in 1938
  • Instrumental in organizing WL Amateur Athletic Association
  • Manager of WL Stampede
  • Charter President of South Cariboo Memorial Recreational & Agricultural Society (group built the first arena in town)
  • Started first band in 1935 and conducted choirs
  • Served 3 years on Village Commission
  • School Board member for 4 years
  • 20 years services on Hospital Board
  • Canadian Mental Health Association in WL
In 1966, Ralph successfully completed the Graduate Jewellers course from the Canadian Jewellers Institute and in 1978 received his Diamond Grading & Evaluation Certificate from the Gemological Institute of America. Still striving to gain knowledge he became a member of theCanadian Professional Jewellery Appraisers, went to the George Brown College in 1982 and received his Casting Certificate. In 1985 he completed his 4 year apprenticeship in Jewellery Manufacture and Repair. He also received certificates in Advanced Jewellery Repair, gold casting, stone setting and his Gemology certificate in Diamond & Coloured Stones from the GIA.


Ralph was also very community minded and was an official timer for the Williams Lake Stampede for over 20 years, a City Alderman for 2 years, a volunteer firefighter, a member of Kiwanis, Elks, Masons, Shriners, Legion and a Charter Member of the Lions Club, WL Badminton Club president and the Remembrance Day parade commander for 5 years. To improve his business Ralph also helped to found the Di-Gem buying group, which helped him to search out and offer jewellery at a better price to his customers. He was an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Jewellers Association.


Believing strongly in ethical business practices Ralph was involved in organizing the Jewellers Vigilance Canada Incorporated, an organization that monitors the trade and practices of the industry.

Ralph’s wife June joined the business in the 1970’s, restringing pearls and beads and working with the customers. Daughters Cindy and Brenda helped out as youngsters washing floors and wrapping gifts. Both worked after school as teenagers cleaning and helping the customers with Brenda doing the engraving. In 1973 Ralph expanded the business to its present location adding more jewellery and gift lines and having a separate diamond room for privacy. Even though the store was new some of the old cases that Tony had built for his first store are still there, a legacy from the past.
In 2008 Cindy and Brenda again expanded the business and have modernized it with a computerized engraver that engraves on metal, etches glass & acrylic, puts foil transfers on leather and wood and can also do corporate logos. They are pleased to be able to offer Canadian diamonds and gold products as well as a wide variety of jewellery.


Cindy has also kept up with the family tradition of community service. Volunteering as WL Stampede Association treasurer for 8 years, WLBA president, Regional director of the Northern BC Winter Games, served on the Economic Development Commission, the Downtown Parking Commission, Community Policing, Communities in Bloom and was President of Ladies Soccer Association. She also served on boards for the Di-Gem Group and the Canadian Jewellers Association.


Geoff Bourdon, the fourth generation at Woodland Jewellers has successfully completed the Gemological Institute of America’s Graduate Jewellers course and is employing his talents in jewellery repair, custom design and goldsmithing. He is very keen to challenge his talents with expanding the business further. He is a member of the City Council of Williams Lake and is continuing in the family tradition of community service.

Check out these Vintage Photos